South Africans can’t afford new cars

The AA has published its latest research into the automotive industry, which shows that 90% of South Africans are keeping their vehicles longer than before due to the state of the South African economy.

According to the findings, over a third of respondents plan on keeping their vehicle for over ten years.

The research also found that over 30% of respondents’ primary vehicles are already over ten years old, while a further 25% of the respondents’ primary vehicles are over five years old.

“These results point to the increased need for better maintenance of vehicles, and for proper insurance,” said the AA.

Vehicle maintenance costs

The AA said that while its research found that over 60% of respondents had car insurance, national data places this figure much lower – at about 35%.

“If this is indeed the case, there is a cause for concern, as insurance is part of a good maintenance plan for any car,” said the AA.

The AA’s research also found that nearly half of all owners pay maintenance costs for their vehicle themselves, with only 20% having a maintenance plan for their car.

Another 20% said they actively save and plan for maintenance costs, while 5% said they did not plan for maintenance expenses at all.

“These results confirm that too many people are relying on their car to never break down and, when it does, they would rather pay out of pocket than have a financial plan – such as a paid maintenance plan – in place,” said David Chard, Managing Director of AA Warranties.

Make your vehicle run longer

Chard also highlighted several steps that vehicle owners should take to ensure their vehicle runs for longer, including:

  • If starting your vehicle in cold conditions, let it idle for five minutes so that the oil can circulate effectively.
  • Avoid unnecessary acceleration, turning, braking, and over-revving.
  • If a warning light displays on your dashboard, deal with it immediately.
  • Check your tyre pressure and oil every time you fill up with petrol.
  • Check your wheel alignment every six months.
  • Replace serviceable parts of your vehicle in accordance with your vehicle’s service schedule.
  • If you have parts replaced, ask for the old part so that you can be certain the part was indeed replaced.

“If you are going on holiday in December you cannot gamble with a vehicle that is not properly serviced or maintained,” said the AA.

“Apart from the fact that a breakdown could ruin your holiday plans, driving in a vehicle which has not been regularly serviced is dangerous to you and other drivers, and could, in the long run, cost you a whole lot more than just the cost of a service.”

South African car stats - AA

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South Africans can’t afford new cars